shooting .38+p out of an old .357 mag


November 1, 2011, 03:37 PM
I have a 1975 taurus m66,4"barrel,6 shot and was wondering can i shoot the .38+p ammo out of it? new to the revolvers kinda so need a little help!

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November 1, 2011, 03:40 PM
As far as I know, old .38s were loaded much hotter than now, very close to current .38 +P. If it can handle .357, it should handle .38 +P just fine.

November 1, 2011, 03:41 PM
You can shoot any .38 Special ever loaded in a .357 Mag.

+P .38 only runs about half the pressure of .357 Mag.

You do need to really clean the chambers good with a bronze bore brush after shooting shorter .38 Spl in it.

BTW: Todays +P is about like standard .38 Spl prior to the 1970's.
Old .38 Spl Hi-Speed and .38/44 ammo was much closer to todays .357 Mag.
Todays +P doesn't even make a blip on the pressure gage compared to that stuff.

Current SAAMI pressure spec:
.38 Spl = 17,000 PSI
.38 +P = 18,500.
.357 Mag = 35,000.


November 1, 2011, 03:50 PM
thanks guys, very helpful

November 3, 2011, 11:50 AM
I am glad you asked this question. I just bought some .38, 158 gr. and .38+P, 158 gr. ammo for my 1976 .357 revolver. I figure my wife will like the .38 ammo over the .357.

The Lone Haranguer
November 3, 2011, 12:57 PM
Shoot all you want. With maybe half the pressure of the hot magnums, it will last longer as well. It takes a little extra attention to chamber cleaning. The point of impact may be different, but that is what adjustable sights are for. There may be a slight loss of accuracy, but this is more of an "individual gun thing." Yours might actually shoot as well or better, who knows.

November 3, 2011, 12:59 PM
There is no .357 Magnum that cannot handle any .38 Special ammo.

Have fun, and good luck, cleaning the fouling from the .38's out of the cylinders.

November 3, 2011, 01:16 PM
.38 chamber fouling ain't nothing a cordless drill and a bore brush won't handle in less then a minute!


November 3, 2011, 01:26 PM
I wish I could say this is the first time I have heard a 357 owner fretting about using 38 Special +P ammo in his gun but I have seen it several times. The 38 +P myth has to be the most successful marketing hype in history.

Maximum allowable chamber pressure for the 38 Special is 21,500 PSI. Current P+ runs at 18,000 PSI so it is not even powerful among 38 Special loads let alone 357 Magnum ammo which is allowed to be at 35,000 PSI.

November 3, 2011, 01:27 PM
And, I understand your Taurus was manufactured with the same frame and cylinder as their .357 revolvers; they just bored and marked some 38 Spl., others .357 Mag.

But I hate cleaning chambers after shooting 38s....I just load lots of light .357 loads....

November 3, 2011, 03:06 PM
....I just load lots of light .357 loads....

A shooting buddy of mine does the same thing. He's shot so many light reloads out of his .357 brass that splitting hasn't been an issue. Flattening the headstamps on the other hand is so bad that he's had to grudgingly retire much of his old brass because it swaged out so far that the rims no longer fit into the recesses in the cylinders.... :D

November 3, 2011, 04:43 PM
I had a Ruger Speed Six .357 with pretty bad holster wear and hard use. I bought it used and it was old, but I never had qualms about firing .357 Mag or any kind load out of it.

It handled .38 Specials as if they were cupcake loads. I fired Nyclad 125 grain +P; and there was little recoil and no concern for safety in using them.

In comparison--when I fired 125 grain .357's at night--there was a serious flash of burning gunpowder. The only thing that I was concerned about, was being night-blinded by that flash.

Your M66 should perform the same way, it takes a long time to wear out a good revolver. If I owned the gun, I would look it over pretty good and if it were visibly sound, I would let 'er rip.

Here is good way to tell if the gun is good: Check for cylinder alignment, by cycling the gun when empty.
Pull the trigger and let the hammer fall, the firing cylinder should always line up with the barrel. If it does, the gun is probably sound. If it does not, then you have a bad gun and that is a very bad symptom/indicator of one.

But, the relative strength of a good weapon is of little concern: Tuarus makes a good gun.

November 3, 2011, 06:01 PM
When I shoot 38s out of my 357s I always spritz a little WD-40 in the barrel and chambers when I get home from shooting. Let it sit for an hour or even overnight and the fouling just brushes right out. I have also done this to guns I have bought that were put up dirty and the crud ring was dry and hard.

You don't want to soak the whole gun. Just the chambers and barrel. It takes very little to do this.

Jim Watson
November 4, 2011, 08:49 AM
This question comes up SO often. What ever happened to the old catalogs and manuals that would list a revolver something like: ".357 Magnum, also chambering .38 Short and Long Colt, .38 S&W and Colt Special, .38-44, and .38 High Velocity"?

Most of the literature now seems to emphasize "Don't load your gun until ready to shoot, better yet, don't load it at all, you might shoot something or somebody." with little detail on actual management of the firearm.

November 4, 2011, 08:56 AM
"Don't load your gun until ready to shoot, better yet, don't load it at all, you might shoot something or somebody." with little detail on actual management of the firearm. I think Ruger actually engraves that in bold letters on the barrel.

This year, their entry for the SHOT show is a Super Redhawk with a micro-LED readout that scrolls through the entire owner's manual...

:D I keeed, I keeed!

evan price
November 4, 2011, 09:08 AM
@ Sam:

Awww, man, don't give them any ideas...

Sometimes I think they use such large barrels on the Super Redhawk so they have more room to write stuff.

November 4, 2011, 09:35 AM
That's only 'cause they haven't got the micro-speakers figured out yet. Soon enough, when you pick up the gun a polite feminie voice will start up READING it to you! :neener:

November 4, 2011, 02:56 PM
when they do that, Sam, I want one with a John Wayne voice , saying " yo, Pilgrim, watch where you point that !" :)

November 6, 2011, 01:57 AM
I only have one actual .38 special and it was handed down from my grandfather who died in the mid 1970s. I also have an older Taurus (model 689, I think) that I load really light for pests (armadillos, 'possums, etc). The 158 gr bullets are going only about 400 fps. VERY quiet, but still plenty of force to punch through an armadillo's shell.

evan price
November 7, 2011, 02:27 AM
Well, Sam, at least you don't have to "Click to agree: I have read and understand the manual" before the trigger unlocks. Would suck in bear country.

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